Thursday, 19 February 2009

Australian Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (DFAT) 'concerned' over fate of Baha'i leaders

19 February 2009 - By Jenna Hand

The Australian Government is ''deeply concerned'' at news that seven leaders of the Iranian Baha'i community have been charged with spying for Israel, insulting Islam and distributing anti-Iran propaganda. The seven may be executed if found guilty in a Revolutionary Court trial scheduled this week.

A Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade spokeswoman said the lack of due legal process ''makes it hard to believe there is any basis to the charges or that they will receive a fair trial''.

The Australian Baha'i community is calling for the immediate release of the seven.

Australian Baha'i Community's Canberra spokeswoman Tessa Scrine said the accusations were baseless.

Australian relatives of the accused are deeply worried.

Roya Kamalabadi, who lives in Melbourne, knows little about where her sister is being held or what condition she is in.

Fariba Kamalabadi, 46, is a psychologist and mother of three children.

Iran's ambassador to Australia, Mahmoud Movahhedi, said all governments had a responsibility to maintain order and bring to justice those suspected of criminal offences.

The United States, the European Union, Britain and Brazil have all issued statements condemning the Iranian Government's treatment of the seven leaders.

Source: Canberra Times

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